Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Brown Nosing As A Career Strategy

I read this very interesting article and realized it described my corporate career and how my personality traits might have affected my job status. It's called Social Capitalist Skills, and while it sounds subversive I assure you it is not.

I always believed that if you kept your head down and did great work that you would be rewarded. Surely they will see how much work I produce, surely they will see how others are roaming around the offices talking to higher ups (read:  brown nosing) while I have this great work ethic. Surely they will see that I take work home at night, that I fire up the computer on weekends to get ahead of emails. Surely they will see that others leave at 4:45 and I'm here til 6:00? Right?


I now think that brown nosing is a very effective career strategy. I always felt too introverted to go "work the room".  I didn't feel comfortable promoting myself to the higher ups to make sure they knew all the good stuff I was doing. That's what brown nosers do, and I knew I wasn't one of those. That was not a desirable personality trait. Ick.

So maybe I should have brown nosed a little. I think they technically call it "networking". In 2010, a lot of people at my company got laid off, including me. Executives were laid off as well. But to my jaded eye, it seems like the brown nosers are still employed there. I admit to a little bias, but I couldn't believe that the "brown nose receivee" didn't realize they were being played. Perhaps they liked being played.

Strengths specific to introverts include reading, writing, researching, and listening. They’re the quieter strengths. That pretty much describes me. These are the types that blog. Ruh roh.

You may recognize yourself in these descriptions:
She’s a copywriter and does marketing for a big company. She said she knows she has to get out there, meet people and mix it up at industry networking events and the like. But she says, and I quote, “I go to these things and I find myself standing alone watching other professionals mixing and mingling. And yes, of course, I know I should introduce myself and meet new people and all of that, but I just can't muster the courage.”
David is a business consultant. He says, “All these coaches I hired tell me the same thing: position myself as the go-to expert, get out there and do public speaking. Well, number one, I don't know how to position myself or where to start. Number two, I need a better way of managing my fear of public speaking.”
She’s read all the self-help business books, including her favorite Self Promotion for Introverts, but she says “I just find myself in all of these situations and I’m still nervous,agitated, and totally lacking in confidence. I really need some help from exercises, cues, anything to feel more relaxed and confident.”
 Read the article here to learn how to keep these work situations from putting you on the sidelines.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Goodwill Hunting

I love meeting new people in blogger land. Deny has a new blog just like me and hers is called A Girl and a Brush. She recently featured a chair update that I thought would be perfect to highlight here because it shows how you can take a very traditional shape and update it with fabric. And also because it's a diy that doesn't look overwhelming. Just a little paint and fabric took this Goodwill find from this:


to this:

Here's a closeup of the chevron fabric that made the transformation:

Great job Deny! You can find more of her projects here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Teenage Girls, Bathroom Mirrors and Cell Phones

What is it about teenage girls, bathroom mirrors and cell phones?

Are the restrooms at every restaurant and movie house so much different that we need to see a picture of the girl at each and every one? Seriously.

Perhaps they are documenting for posterity each and every outfit, or maybe it just seems that way. They no doubt think they look hot; would you take a million pictures of yourself if you didn't?

I would post more pictures but then none of my relatives would speak to me. But you know what I'm talking about.

I just don't get it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Most Popular Pinterest Site

It used to be that if you needed an image you would google it. Now it seems that every image I see online is from Pinterest. After getting messages every day that someone is repinning one of my Pins in particular, I decided I should just post it here since it seems so popular.

I talked about Pinterest and what you can do with it here.

This Pinterest has been repinned over 100 times.

Do you use Pinterest yet? You can see all of my pins here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A True Fairy Tale - A Story of Dreams and Faith

Once upon a time there was a fair maiden and her prince. They lived in a beautiful castle surrounded by rose gardens. Tomatoes grew right out of the earth, ready for eating. When not frolicking amongst the roses, the maiden toiled at a far off place where they showered her with gold coins just to travel the world and buy gifts for the royals. The maiden loved this work, and the many many coins it provided. Life was good.

The maiden told her prince to stop toiling for other merchants and instead toil for himself so that he could reap all the profit and buy her a castle along the beach as he had done for so many others. Indeed, her dream was that the beach castle should rise so tall that the other castles behind it were put in the shade and could no longer see the ocean and the owners would have to walk around her beach castle to get to the ocean. The prince toiled to make it so.

One day the far off place where the maiden toiled deemed it could no longer afford to shower the maiden with gold coins and she was sent away. Distraught, the maiden and her prince would soon learn that many other places were also reluctant to spend their gold; and one by one the prince’s gold bearers shriveled up or were gone altogether as they themselves ran out of gold. The princess could not find another provider of coin because, truth be told, although she was a fair maiden she was no spring chicken.

Life was sometimes bleak and sometimes scary as the two stayed in their castle each day; although the garden reaped a bounteous harvest from all the care and attention provided by the couple. The couple prayed and prayed to their Lord to provide guidance and help them regain their footing that they could live to be a really old maiden and prince living somewhere other than the streets of the village. They decided to sell their castle, for the profits would sustain them if needed.  They then decided to travel far away in order to visit the wise old mother of the maiden and live amongst her family, in a land where the sun is always warm and the ocean is always near. Before they left the village, they met with their church leader who prayed with them, asking that they would find an answer and the answer would be such that there was no way it could be interpreted to be because of the actions of the maiden and her prince, that it would be something that was clearly evident to be due to the hand of God.
Though enchanted by the sun and ocean, the maiden and her prince were still worried about what might become of them.  It was on a particularly dark day that the maiden’s fair sister asked the maiden to join her volunteering to help those who were in hard times and needing of food.  A piece of scripture was included with each bag of food to be given away that day:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these…Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:25 – 29 34
The maiden was spiritually lifted by helping others and felt that she received far more than she gave that day. The prince and the maiden kept this piece of scripture on their box of provisions so that they might see it every day. The maiden took to heart the scripture and continued to volunteer each week to help provide food for the needy.

One day, out of the blue sky, the prince received a message from a friend of long ago. He desperately needed the prince’s help and there would be a handsome reward at the end. The prince came to the rescue, working long and hard with little sleep, and received gold coins as his reward. The prince and his maiden cried “Hallelujah!” There followed more jobs and more promises of rewards and cheques in the mail, and the prince and his maiden sighed a relief that perhaps their prayers had been answered. Their future looked brighter and their worries were abated.

Afterward, the prince and his fair maiden traveled to meet his timely friend and the friend’s lovely maiden. They dined together and before they parted the friend said:
"I don’t even know why I called you that day. Normally I would have called any one of a number of other people, but when I picked up the phone I ended up calling you. And I don’t know why that was. It was just out of the blue. It was so strange.”
But the prince and his maiden knew.  The call was clearly an act not of their doing. 

Much later the prince and his fair maiden sat on their balcony watching the sun set over the water, as they liked to do many evenings. The maiden turned to her prince and said in amazement:
“Look where we are! In a tall castle overlooking the water. Others have to go around us to see the water and they are positioned in the shadow of our castle. I think somehow, when we weren’t looking, we ended up in our beach castle.”
And life is good.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Everyone Needs Some Studs In Their Home

Yes, I’m talking studs. (But I only put that in the title so those who google "studs" will find this page instead of the type of page they, perhaps, were looking for). Just my little joke on people I don't even know.

So getting down to brass tacks, what I'm really talking about is nailhead trim. Adding nailhead trim to an existing piece is pretty easy. It can update the piece instantly, just like jewelry enhances an outfit. And it is an easy way to hide staples when reupholstering a chair. Of course nailhead trim is often used when fabricating headboards, but no need to let the creativity stop there.You can buy a long roll of nailhead trim and you'll only have to hammer in every 5th one. Much easier for keeping straight lines.

For control freaks who simply must do it the hard way, the trim also comes in individual tacks.

And now nailhead trim comes in nickel which is a real trend update from brass trim. Here's my DIY headboard with nickel trim that I posted here.

One of the easiest things to DIY is a message board. This first one is from HGTV.

Cornice boards are really easy to make. I have made quite a few by either covering them with fabric or attaching moldings and painting. But I like the look of them on this cornice board, which looks like it is also made of wood with attached moldings.

Now call me crazy but I think this lamp could be a DIY project. This picture shows a table lamp from mitchel gold & bob williams, but I could see fashioning one out of wood and using faux croc wallpaper to wrap it before adding studs.

In my mind, these mirrors could be DIYed by making a wood frame for a store bought mirror, covering with fabric and then nailhead. I think that this is a good project for someone to do and tell me how it went. Now most bloggers would go ahead and do these projects, documenting them with pictures before blogging about them. But I moved from a 3200 sq ft house to a 2000 sq ft condo and I no longer have the space to make these or hang them. But I still like them and want them.

For those of you still with me, I've saved the best for last. There is a cult-like following of Ikea Hackers who have taken the inexpensive pieces and redecorated or reconfigured them. Ikea sponsors a website devoted to pictures and instructions for "hacking" Ikea products. This first picture starts with the Ikea "besta" cabinet (about $125) and then festoons it with nailhead trim to make a spectacular, one-of-a-kind piece.
And for those who would rather spend even less, take a look at this $6 garage sale table before and after.

The $6 table was painted and then decorated with...thumb tacks! This was done by one very creative, crafty person and her tutorial can be found here.

Are you inspired to try any of these yourself? How many of you want to show one of these pictures to your honey-do-list arm candy and ask him to make one for you?

Monday, February 13, 2012


I have a page on my pinterest page dedicated to DIY art. Usually I'm attracted to art that sells for high dollar, but looks like something maybe I could create myself. Oftentimes when my arm-candy and I are strolling through an art gallery he will comment that "you could that". I usually disagree. But here are some art pieces that I have found online that I actually think I could do.

Starting with the easiest one first - this is sea glass glued in a shadow box. I could totally do this and I even have a sea glass collection to use.
Another easy art piece that just uses framing skills. This one uses hand made paper placed in a frame. I would put the paper on linen to highlight the design. Kate's Paperie is an online source for hand made papers. OR you can go to Natural Curiosities and pay a few hundred for one, which makes the DIY version so.much.better.

If you're in to abstract art, I think anyone could create this type of painting with a ruler on canvas.

This one looks pretty basic and there's even a tutorial on how to do it. How would anyone know if you made a mistake?

Channel your inner child with this. Hot glue crayons to the canvas and then blow dry. You could use all blues and greys for a moody canvas or coordinate with the colors in your room for that custom over-the-sofa painting.
Now we get a little more difficult, which requires more effort. Like buying paint and canvas. But you still can't beat the price, especially if you can convince yourself that your efforts would look totally awesome hanging in a gallery with a high price tag. This one can be found at the Cole Pratt Gallery in New Orleans for $2100. I love the colors because I'm a periwinkle kind of gal, and if I had an extra $2100 in my food envelope I would buy it.

It occurs to me that maybe I shouldn't be showing the works of these artists and recommending that you try to recreate something similar. Is that a bad thing to do? Have you ever tried to create your own version of expensive art? Is that a type of plagiarism or perfectly acceptable?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Jason Wu Collection at Target

Has anyone seen the Jason Wu collection at Target yet? Some of the items are already sold out online and the web seems to be buzzing about it. Full skirts are a new trend and his collection has plenty of them.

I only know his name as a fashion designer because I obsessively watch Housewives of NY where they are very territorial about their designers and get into a tizzy if someone else wears "their" designer favorite. And Jill, the nasty red-head who wants to reign over New York socialites, wears Jason Wu. But hers looked different, and better. But she got fired from the show anyway, which makes me happy. She was such a hater. But I digress.

His styles for Target are very preppy, sort of like Ralph Lauren without the plaid. And I love his branding with the black dog wearing a big red bow. He has a shirt with that on it, and honestly, I think that's my favorite piece.

Maybe I'm just too old for the Target version of high fashion. Maybe this skews towards teens, but I can't envision any of the teens I know wearing pleated poplin dresses. Maybe late 20's gals wearing them to work? What do you think? Too conservative, too preppy? Too old, too young?

Just for fun, here's a picture of the gorgeous Kate Middleton rocking a full skirt recently.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Recycle, Repurpose, Reuse

I belong to several online shopping "clubs" that you join by membership only. Sounds exclusive yes? Not really but they have interesting and unusual items in many categories, clothing, cooking items, furniture, art and prints, etc. For example at the Foundary, the online sales last a few days each and are usually not the type of items you would find in a retail store. Which makes it a fun site for gifts that the recipient will not have already seen. It's advertised as designer items at up to 70% off. I have bought a few things here and was even sent a $20 coupon to spend on anything at any price. Which meant free because I was looking at the $19.99 items.

If you would like receive an invite so that you can see the sales you can click here. Yesterday they had an unusual sale on items that I have to say I have not seen anywhere else. The merchant explained himself thusly:
Integrity matters when searching for interior décor. BottleHood products are made from recycled bottles, with the passion for a sustainable environment and appreciation for local craftsmanship. These lamps, pendant lights, and sconces are made from repurposed bottles.

Sounds great. Recycle, Repurpose, Reuse. This merchant featured glass lighting pendants in some beautiful colors, but upon closer inspection  their origins became clear. Remember those bottle cutters you received when you were a kid so that you could make glasses out of bottles? Check these out.

I loved the dark blue colors of these pendants:

And also this paler blue:

And this jewel green was pretty but sort of a weird shape:
OK, it took me a few minutes to realize what they meant by "repurposed bottles". The top blue ones are from Skyy Vodka and Tyrant, the pale blue is Bombay Sapphire and the green bottle is Jagermeister. This is the picture where I finally figured it out:
Jack Daniels Sconce
Everything old is new again.

Monday, February 6, 2012

What I Learned When I Started Blogging

What I learned when I started blogging:

Folks, my posts, and especially this one, are a total brain dump. It’s the conversations I have in my head when I’m blow drying my hair. It’s stuff I think about but don’t have someone to sit and listen to (even my arm candy Mr. Lane needs a rest sometimes). So I write it here and hope maybe somebody else is interested in the same stuff or will find it mildly amusing. Because honestly, I crack myself up with my own jokes.

But I have too much stuff I like to stick to one blog topic, too many varied interests. I like gardening and  especially roses, at least when I had a yard. I like decorating, more so when I had a house I could do anything to. I’ll sit and read house plans or recipes like they’re the latest novel.  I like getting bargains that look like they came right out of catalogs like Pottery Barn and West Elm, or dare I say it, Horchow. I like stocks and options and managing my own 401k. I like fashion and art and traveling, but rarely have the money for any of these things at the level in which I would like to indulge. I watch every single Housewives of NY/NJ/OC/BH and will admit it. I like spending an absurd amount of time researching a topic, any topic, online...such as how to fold a fitted sheet. I like procurement (my way of saying I like to shop).

This blog gives me an outlet to write whatever I want. No worries about bad grammar or spelling. No one is going to circle anything in red pen. No pressure about deadlines. Hey if I miss a day, I miss a day. Besides me, who’s going to even know?

The very definition of a blog is just an outlet to write whatever you want and share whatever part of your life that you’re passionate aboutthis post in your own words and at your own pace and in whatever way feels natural to you. And if people like it and follow you, that’s a bonus that just makes you feel good. (This seems like a good time to remind you to follow me by clicking on the icon on the right, or subscribe via email to have new posts sent to you).

I look forward to writing these blogs; it’s way more fun than writing a term paper or a magazine article or some form of marketing communications. And I’ve learned some things in the process. I learned I don’t want a bigger job with better pay. That’s not what I need, although the income would be useful.  I want a more connected life. I want to read more, write more, volunteer more, hang out with family more, use my Crock Pot more, go out with my husband more. I've even iron sheets a few times; never thought I'd have the time, much less the inclination, to do that.

Right now I'm experiencing life in the middle lane. No falling asleep at the wheel, such as in this post, because I feel like I have to be in the fast lane doing it all. Even without my rose garden, I am stopping to smell the roses more, thanks to this blog.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Date This Kitchen - A Timeline of Color Trends

I recently declared, rather valiantly perhaps, that I could tell what decade a kitchen originated from or was last remodeled by the color of the cabinets. And I’m sure I’m not the only and that’s why so many home owners have recently painted their orangish-toned oak cabinets a shade of white. 

So here is my take on the color timeline of decorating. I didn’t go back any farther because a) that would be older than I’ve been around; and b) my interest just doesn’t go back any farther. 

1950’s – bright painted colors like aqua or pink. This brings to mind those kitschy little refrigerators from with the rounded corners, as demonstrated by the wife in apron and heels next to it. Also those aluminum cups that made any drink taste awful.

1960’s – wood with orange overtones or painted colors. Still using aqua and pink, but also bright yellow, red or blue. Think of the tablecloths from this period with these colors, usually involving cherries in the design.

1970’s – the era of avocado green and harvest gold. Warm brown wood tones for cabinets.

1980’s – Pickled pink/white oak cabinets. Think of all the sofas and wallpaper in a combination of teal, burgundy, and forest green. Salmon was also very big (the color not the food).

1990’s – White and maple glazed cabinets to accompany colors like sage green and gold.

2000’s – Espresso and cherry cabinets. Chocolate brown became the new beige to go with shades of cream and ivory. Chocolate brown and light blue/teal has been a favorite for a while now.

2010’s – White or painted gray cabinets, sometimes mixing both in one kitchen. Gray becomes the new neutral and is often combined with black and white. For gray to come to life it needs a dose of color around it or it just goes bland, so bright colors are often introduced in the room. Think bright citron yellow or mustard yellow, chartreuse or lime green. Or the color of the year for 2012, tangerine. Dark red, bright pink, aqua. You know, all those colors from the 1950’s. They’re here again. Gray places nice with all bright colors.
 Now who doesn't like a bright green zebra pattern?
I would love to have a set of either of these pillows. By the way, they can be found at trendypillows on And no she didn't pay me to show these. But she totally should, right?

This is in no way a judgment of color combinations or room décor from any era. If you like it, it’s good. I’ve never been one to buy everything that’s trendy at the moment because at sometime in the future it will look very dated and people like me will know exactly when you bought it, if not also where you bought it. So I prefer an eclectic mix of styles, usually combining a traditional styled piece with modern fabric or colors. Here's an $8 wing back chair redo that can found at along with a full tutorial if you're just that brave:


So what about you? Do you get your room set the way you like it and keep it that way or do you try to add in some trendy items when the styles/colors change in and out of vogue?